Last modified: 2005-09-17 by santiago dotor
Keywords: bavaria | bayern | district | bezirk | municipality | gemeinde |
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Bezirke (districts) are the third communal layer in Bavaria; the others are the Landkreise (counties) and the Gemeinden (municipalities) or Städte (towns and cities). In the larger Länder of Germany (including Bavaria) there are Regierungsbezirke which are only administrative divisions and not self-governing entities as the Bezirke in Bavaria. The Bezirke in Bavaria are territorially identical with the Regierungsbezirke (e.g. Regierung von Oberbayern), but are a different form of administration (having their own parliaments etc.). The Bezirke have their own arms and flags (just as the Landkreise and Gemeinden). The Regierungsbezirke as offices under the [Bavarian] Ministry of the Interior use the Bavarian arms and flags.
The arms and flags of the Bezirke of Bavaria have been thoroughly described in Linder 1997 which is available online [but without images] at the Der Flaggenkurier website. My GIFs and my explanations are based on this article.
Marcus Schmöger, 27 January 2001
The flags of the Bavarian Bezirke are based on Linder 1997. He shows six of them as 'normal' horizontal flags, only the one of Oberbayern as a vertical flag. (...) Regarding the other Bezirke [apart from Oberbayern], I don't know [whether they use vertical or horizontal flags or both]. I asked Dieter Linder and he told me, that he reconstructed the flags according to the descriptions (usually nothing more than "divided red-white, bearing the arms" or the like). He does not have photos of these flags, as they are rarely seen. They only show up occasionally on the buildings of the Bezirk (e.g. on the occasion of an election of a new district president); they are also used, when the Bezirke gather once in a year.
There are not many examples of these flags available, so that they have to bring their own flag for this assembly. Dieter Linder tried for several years to get photos of this assembly showing the flags, without success up to now. The Bezirke themselves were not able or willing to provide photos of their flags. I personally assume that most or even all of the Bezirke use vertical flags with the arms slightly shifted to the top of the flag. This is the normal form of city or municipal flag here in Bavaria. Most official authorities (e.g. the Bavarian ministries) use vertical flags (German and Bavarian) as their official flag on the building. So one could call that 'regular' here in Bavaria.
Marcus Schmöger, 2 February 2001
As of 1st January 1994 Bavaria comprised 2,056 municipalities. Nearly all of them show arms of their own, and I estimate freely that no more than 20 municipalities are without arms. The number of municipal flags is certainly not so high, since they often have been adopted later, but presumably more than 50% of the municipalities are using flags of their own. Unfortunately till now there is no comprehensive publication of all of the incumbent municipal arms or flags of Bavaria. There are only books in regard to certain regions.
But one can say, that nearly all municipal flags show two or three stripes, always of equal width, and the municipal Arms may appear on them. The colours of the stripes always must derive from the main colours of the Arms [livery colours]. The heraldic rules are transferred to the flags, i.e. the rule of no metal beside a colour. The only accepted colours are white, yellow, red, green, blue and black. Some examples:
Dieter Linder, 18 November 1998
In Bavarian municipalities there is never a distinction between a civil flag and a state or service flag. When different variants exist, i.e. with arms and without arms, this follows a different pattern, which has basically two dimensions: a historical and an economical one.
Historically, most of the cities, towns and municipalities that adopted flags only rarely they have flags already just adopted the colours, and did not define the use of the arms on the flag. At least in the 1950's and 1960's it was much cheaper to just have striped flags without the arms. Later on it became more and more common to add the arms on the flag, basically for three reasons: firstly, it was affordable; secondly, other municipalities had done the same, so "our municipality has to have a flag decorated with the arms as well", and thirdly the "granting agencies" first the Innenministerium, later the Bezirksregierungen started to define the flag slightly more in detail.
This led to the unfortunate formulations of "sie kann mit aufgelegtem Wappen geführt werden" or "sie soll mit aufgelegtem Wappen geführt werden" or "sie muß mit aufgelegtem Wappen geführt werden" ("the flag can/shall/must be used with the coat-of-arms"). Especially the "soll" is not clearly differenced from "muß".
Marcus Schmöger, 14 April 2002
Most municipal coats-of-arms adopted in Bavaria in the 1950's were drawn by Emil Werz. He had his distinct, ornate style including a quite unusual kind of shield. This shield design included the white 'relief' shown on several arms in my website see for instance the Erding County, Moosinning, Forstern, Taufkirchen, Oberding, Grünbach and Grüntegernbach arms. Municipalities followed different ways in adapting this shield to the flag:
Marcus Schmöger, 10 May 2002
German city flags [quoted from Flaggenmitteilungen?]:
|Municipality or Gemeinde||colours (* with coat-of-arms)|
|Rieden a.d. Kotz||white-red*|
Jaume Ollé, 24 September 1999
The names of the municipalities (not so much cities, but a mix of small towns and villages) contain a number of spelling mistakes, and some have become renamed or incorporated into other municipalities. This is a list of corrections/updates:
Stefan Schwoon, 11 February 2002